RammSanderson’s senior team are adept at providing Habitat Regulations Assessments (or Appropriate Assessments) for schemes varying from small projects outside existing approvals, through to strategic allocations and plan reviews. Our expert team can draw together a broad range of skills both internally and liaise with other key stakeholders to provide support for your scheme. 

Habitat Regulations Assessments

Habitat Regulations Assessments (HRA) are required when any development plan or project is likely to affect an ecological European site that is protected by Habitat Regulations, such as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs).

An HRA is provided in four key Stages which, principally only Stage 1 and 2 apply unless for major national infrastructure projects. 

Stage 1: Likely Significant Effect (LSE). This assesses a scheme proposal (in absence of mitigation) against the European site and the risks of either direct or indirect impacts. Where an LSE is identified, Stage 2 is triggered.

Stage 2: Appropriate Assessment. This stage draws together a range of ecological surveys and often non ecological expertise such as noise and pollution to assess the relative impact and provide mitigation appropriate to the risk. The mitigation must ensure Neutral impact to the European Site. Where a scheme is not able to mitigate its impact, planning cannot be granted. Where this is not possible, derogation tests (applied in Stage 3 and 4) are assessed but are the reserve of Major National Infrastructure.

Habitat Regulation Assessment

What are the criteria for habitat regulations assessments?

The requirement for a HRA can be triggered if the proposals are located within the impact risk zone of and are within an identified category type with potential to affect a European Site. Under regulation 63 and Regulation 70 of the Conversation of Habitats Regulations (2017) as amended.

A HRA is therefore required to assesses the effects of a proposal upon the conservation objectives and the qualifying criteria of a European Site including both direct and indirect impacts.

Is a habit regulations assessment necessary when applying for planning permission?

Under regulation 63 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2017) as amended, it is the role of the competent authority (i.e the Local Planning Authority or Statutory Body such as Natural England) to conduct a ~HRA of a Plan or Project. Where our clients proposals fall within an existing HRA (such as within an adopted core plan), a site specific HRA is not normally required.

Where a site falls beyond an approved HRA or results in a potential impact pathway that has not otherwise been screened, a scheme specific HRA will be required. In this instance, RammSanderson’s team of experts can provide a Shadow HRA document which can be reviewed by a competent authority for adoption. 

Habitat Management

RammSanderson has an experienced team ready to conduct Habitiat Regulation Assessments. Get in touch today.